A guide to all the homegrown brands at Riyadh Fashion Week

A guide to all the homegrown brands at Riyadh Fashion Week
Honayda (left) and Abadia will both go on show at Riyadh Fashion Week. (Instagram)
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Updated 19 October 2023
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A guide to all the homegrown brands at Riyadh Fashion Week

A guide to all the homegrown brands at Riyadh Fashion Week
  • From veteran designers to up-and-comers, Saudi designers are set to shine 

DUBAI: From Oct. 20-23, the highly-anticipated Riyadh Fashion Week is set to capture the attention of fashionistas from across the globe as 30 brands from the Kingdom — both veteran and up-and-coming — take to the runway in King Abdullah Financial District.  

The week will kick off with a gala dinner and a show by Ashi Studio. The next three days will see the cream of Saudi Arabia’s fashion scene showcase their latest collections. Here, we take a look at the participating brands.  

Oct. 21 (Couture shows)  

Single shows  

Adnan Akbar 

Dubbed the “first couture house of the Kingdom,” Akbar’s eponymous label — established in 1970 and billed as the Kingdom’s first couture house — is known for its ready-to-wear and haute-couture gowns, as well as luxurious wedding dresses. A mainstay at international fashion events since the Eighties, Akbar’s label helped pave the way for up-and-coming designers in the Kingdom, especially when it comes to haute couture.   

Tima Abid  

The Jeddah-born couturier has a career that goes back more than two decades. Abid says she likes to create luxury pieces that are inspired by the Kingdom’s natural landscapes.  

Yousef Akbar  

This award-winning contemporary eveningwear brand focuses on ethical and sustainable fashion for women.   

Atelier Hekayat 

Founded by sisters Abeer and Alia Oraif, Jeddah-based Atelier Hekayet has its sights set on going global. It’s already had a little help from Saudi 100 Brands, which took the duo's designs to the US last year.   

The brand’s mission is to “offer new meaning to Middle Eastern fashion through bold and contemporary designs that marry Saudi traditional female dress with the latest trends in international design.”   

Mixed shows  

Pavone  

Established in 2016 in the Eastern province by Shouq Almubarak, Pavone creates “designs inspired by nature and art.” 

Nour Al-Dhahri 

The eponymous luxury label aims to “revolutionize the cultural aspect of outerwear by creating bold and creative designs.”  

Fatima Abdulqader  

The eponymous label creates bespoke luxury bridal pieces and will showcase it newest collection this week.  

Dar Al-Hanouf 

Saudi designer Al-Hanouf Mazen Al-Qabasani founded Dar Al-Hanouf in 2012 as a high-end bridal couture atelier. It has become one of the top destinations for wedding attire in the Kingdom, known for its exceptional design and embroidery. To create her classic pieces, Al-Hanouf sources the finest French lace and haute-couture fabrics from companies across the world.  

Hala Algharbawi  

Hala Algharbawi is a Saudi fashion designer based in Berlin. She holds a master’s degree in fashion management from Rome Business School.. She likes to mix Eastern and Western cultures, creating a blend of “freedom, emancipation and traditional warmth.”   

Oct 22 (Womenswear)  

Single shows  

Abadia 

Fashion entrepreneur Shahd Al-Shehail, who hails from the Al-Ahsa region, runs an ethical luxury label that “marries traditional crafts with contemporary silhouettes for today’s urban nomads.” Sadu, the geometric weave characteristic of Bedouin societies across the Middle East, has been a mainstay of the line since it was launched in 2016.   

Honayda 

Celebrity-loved designer Honayda Serafi made headlines this year for designing the pre-wedding henna night gown for Saudi-born Princess Rajwa Al-Hussein, who tied the knot with Jordan’s Crown Prince Hussein bin Abdullah II on June 1. Serafi’s passion for the culture and traditions of her homeland is communicated through her designs. Honayda is also the first Saudi label to be stocked at the prestigious London department store Harrods.   

Kaf by Kaf  

Founded by Kawthar Alhoraish, the label represents the Kingdom’s newest wave of contemporary brands looking to create pieces embedded in Saudi heritage. The label creates structured garments decorated with unique patterns that are inspired by the Kingdom.   

Arwa Albanawi  

The Dubai-based womenswear label, created by Jeddah-born creative Arwa Al-Banawi, makes unique pieces “for the woman on the go.” A former investment banker, Al-Banawi saw a gap in the market for womenswear that is both professional and fashion-forward. After studying at the London College of Fashion in Dubai, she launched her namesake brand in 2015.  

Mixed shows  

Dazluq  

Founded by Saudi designer Salma Zahran, a graduate of Miami International University of Art & Design, the label aims to “set the tone for fashion in the region.” Her designs are for “women in the modern world — powerful and independent but also romantic and creative.”  

Yasmina Q 

Designer Yasmina Qanzal, who is based out of Jeddah and London, wants to build a brand that offers “thoughtfully created womenswear” while supporting skilled communities and utilizing eco-friendly practices operated by an all-woman team.  

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Yasmina Q (@_yasminaq_)

Eman Joharji  

The Saudi label “reimagines the abaya,” creating collections that combine tradition with modern elegance and design.  

Moja Majka  

Moja Majka, which means “my mother” in Montenegrin, is a slow-fashion label founded by mother-daughter duo Sureyya and Sarah Basaad in 2012.  Not basing their designs on trends, the duo follow their own intuition and authenticity, inspired mainly by heritage and nature.  

Mona Alshebil  

A luxury, minimalist, contemporary brand that “celebrates the success of women through feminine, timeless pieces” that consist of sophisticated, modern designs influenced by Saudi heritage.   

Nabila Nazer 

Creating timeless, modest pieces for the modern Middle Eastern woman, Nabila Nazer founded her eponymous label in 2007. She says her designs are characterized by “modesty, comfort and elegance.”  

Oct. 23 (Menswear)  

Single shows  

Lomar 

The menswear label — founded in 2002 by Loay Naseem and his wife Mona Al-Haddad — aims to create “contemporary designs that connect the past with the future.” The duo created the label with a mission to redesign Saudi thobes “to enable Saudi men to love what they wear and be proud and comfortable with their national dress.”  

1886  

Saudi entrepreneurs Fahad Al-Jomiah and Khalid Al-Jammaz conceived what they bill as the Kingdom’s first streetwear brand in their dorm rooms in London. 1886, now one of the trendiest names in the Saudi market, aims to “bridge fashion to the future by uniting the tradition of urban wear with tomorrow’s innovations and technical aesthetic,” the duo previously told Arab News.   

Mazrood 

This modern comfort wear label, predominantly focused on creating unisex designs, was founded by Riyadh-based designer Saud Alajaji in 2018 after he moved to New York to study at the Fashion Institute of Technology.   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by MAZROOD (@mazrood)

Noble and Fresh  

Founded in Riyadh, the fashion brand was another that took part in the Saudi 100 brands exhibition “Saudi Heritage.” Its Salwa jacket design was inspired by the historic palace of the same name in Diriyah.  

Mixed shows  

Hajruss 

Hajruss focuses exclusively on two seasons — sun and snow, as they like to call them — creating striking and modern pieces “with comfort and utility in mind.”   

Jubb  

The menswear label, founded by Yossef Bin Afesh, brings to life a “new class of contemporary resort wardrobe through effortless, cozy-yet-elegant fabric blends.”  

MD29  

MD29 celebrates the Kingdom’s culture and heritage through its traditional designs, elevating them with exquisite craftsmanship and quality of materials.   

Not Boring  

The Saudi streetwear brand was founded in 2017 by Yazeed Abahussein with the aim of collaborating with local and international artists to create pieces inspired by local culture.  

Noura Sulaiman 

The contemporary Riyadh-based luxury label “celebrates refined details and understated sophistication,” inspired by designer Sulaiman’s love of the Kingdom’s culture and society.  

Uscita   

Uscita’s creative designs reflect the label’s motto: “Be Yourself.” Uscita prides itself on inclusivity, and its sleek, timeless pieces “allow people to express themselves through fashion.” 


Saleh Saadi explores Palestine through the eyes of tourists in upcoming series

Saleh Saadi explores Palestine through the eyes of tourists in upcoming series
Updated 23 sec ago
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Saleh Saadi explores Palestine through the eyes of tourists in upcoming series

Saleh Saadi explores Palestine through the eyes of tourists in upcoming series

DUBAI: Through an open-call competition, Palestinian director Saleh Saadi was selected by MENA-based broadcasting network OSN to film his upcoming, six-episode series, “Dyouf” (meaning “guests” in Arabic). 

Saadi submitted his project in response to OSN’s Writer’s Room mentorship program, which was also organized by The Arab Fund for Arts and Culture, that aims to support aspiring filmmakers and writers from the region. 

Originally from the bedouin village of Basmat Tab’un, Saadi has previously created two social-themed short films that dealt with his native Palestine: “Borekas” (2020) and “A’lam” (2022).

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Saleh Saadi (@_salehsaadi)

The filmmaker says that he did not grow up in an environment that had a film institute, let alone an overall industry, but that didn’t stop his creativity, which began at home with simple means. 

“My family doesn’t have an artistic background. Their focus was to give us a good life, but they used to take pictures of us with a small camera,” Saadi told Arab News. “My siblings would film with a video camera and make little plays. . . I don’t know why it stuck with me.”

From a young age, he taught to edit and filmed sketches with his family members, who acted in his creations. “To them it was good fun, but I took it seriously,” he recalls. Saadi grew up “glued to the television set,” watching sitcoms. He also admires the work of notable Palestinian director Elia Suleiman, whose films have been shown at the Cannes Film Festival and the Venice Film Festival.

Saadi’s winning submission “Dyouf,” a dramedy which is in the process of development, centers around the protagonist Shadi, who returns to his homeland after living abroad and feels lonely. His mother has set up a guesthouse that is being frequented by tourists. 

Each episode, delving into the themes of relationships and identities, will focus on one tourist. “Through these guests, we understand the country more. One of the main characters is the country,” Saadi explains. “It shows a certain reality, the day-to-day life and little moments of the day. I think different people will be able to relate to the show in different ways.”

Saadi adds that shooting in Palestine comes with its own set of tricky challenges, from funding to on-site disturbances. “Things are more and more difficult. I don’t want to be cheesy, but it’s also become more and more important. There are difficulties from start to finish, where anything can happen.”

Despite the ongoing bombardment of Gaza, Saadi is heartened by how Palestinian cinema is slowly on the rise in the region and abroad, through film festivals and cultural events. “I am very happy because I feel like there are more films on Palestine. They tell our stories,” he said

“We have so much love for our people, our family and our land. All kinds of art have an important role to play. Through art, we are showing that, despite all difficulties, the love is still there.”  


Gigi Hadid, Arab models walk Versace runway

Gigi Hadid, Arab models walk Versace runway
Updated 24 February 2024
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Gigi Hadid, Arab models walk Versace runway

Gigi Hadid, Arab models walk Versace runway

DUBAI: US-Dutch-Palestinian model Gigi Hadid, a staple on Versace runways, made a remarkable return to the Italian brand’s catwalk this week during Milan Fashion Week.

The supermodel stunned the runway in a black sheer, collared dress featuring intricate button-down detailing and a daring thigh-high slit. Complementing her ensemble, she sported black latex gloves and accentuated her look with sharp eye makeup.

Hadid was joined by other part-Arab models, including Imaan Hammam, who is Moroccan, Egyptian and Dutch, and Loli Bahia, who is French Algerian.

Hammam donned a printed blazer layered over a brown top. (Getty Images)

Hammam donned a printed blazer layered over a brown top, completing her ensemble with black tights and thigh-high leather boots. Just like Hadid, she accessorized with latex gloves and striking eye makeup.

Bahia wore a black mini-dress. (Getty Images)

Bahia opened the runway show in a black mini-dress, complementing her ensemble with a bold pop of color courtesy of a fiery red purse.


From finance to fame: Yasmine Al-Bustami discusses her journey to Hollywood stardom

From finance to fame: Yasmine Al-Bustami discusses her journey to Hollywood stardom
Updated 24 February 2024
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From finance to fame: Yasmine Al-Bustami discusses her journey to Hollywood stardom

From finance to fame: Yasmine Al-Bustami discusses her journey to Hollywood stardom

LOS ANGELES: From working in finance to gracing the stage and screen, Yasmine Al-Bustami has emerged as a dynamic talent on the rise.

Known for her roles in “The Originals,” “NCIS: Hawai’i” and “The Chosen,” the actress was born in Abu Dhabi to a Palestinian-Jordanian father and a Filipino mother.

Al-Bustami grew up in Texas and began work in the world of finance, but soon found that she was not fulfilled and began to dig for something more exciting.

“I had never taken acting classes or anything, but I knew to get auditions you needed an agent,” she said. “So I just emailed all the Dallas agents and one of them was so sweet, emailed me back … I was sending in my business resume, too, I didn’t even have an acting resume. I was like, ‘this is where I went to university. I have a finance degree.’ None of that. They don’t care.

“And (the agent) goes, ‘well, clearly, you have no idea what you’re doing. Go to class. And here are some acting class recommendations.’ Then from that, I just kept taking classes in Dallas, then moved to Los Angeles,” she said.

Al-Bustami began with a brief appearance in a health-related commercial before making her television debut in “The Originals,” appearing in the recurring role of Monique Deveraux, a villain in the first season.

The actress was born in Abu Dhabi to a Palestinian-Jordanian father and a Filipino mother. (Getty Images)

Today, she has a role in hit spinoff “NCIS: Hawai’i” and the historical drama “The Chosen,” which recently moved to the theater.

“On ‘The Chosen,’ I play Ramah,” she said. “And when you meet her, it’s in season one. I’m in one of the episodes, episode five, and I basically work with Thomas the Disciple, and we have a little bit of romance there. We are very flirtatious with each other, and then you start to see that develop from seasons two to now, the season that is out right now is season four.”

Part of the challenge Al-Bustami faced was gaining the approval of her parents and finding roles true to her ethnicity.

On the latter note, she has scored a role representing women of color in the dark comedy show “Immigrants.”

“We just finished the pilot and that is by my friend Mustafa Knight, and it’s basically how we have described it is like ‘Friends,’ but with color,” she said.

“I’ve never been more proud to be an immigrant because now I also have an outlet to express that to people through storytelling,” the actress added. “It’s a different kind of gratefulness whenever you get the opportunity to play something that you are actually.”

The show is described as a dark comedy series following the “misadventures of six unlikely friends through their trials and tribulations on what it really means to be American in America.”


Saudi Cup kicks off in Riyadh with a showcase of traditional fashion

Saudi Cup kicks off in Riyadh with a showcase of traditional fashion
Updated 24 February 2024
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Saudi Cup kicks off in Riyadh with a showcase of traditional fashion

Saudi Cup kicks off in Riyadh with a showcase of traditional fashion
  • From bespoke creations designed exclusively by and for style icons to bold original outfits, guests were dressed in striking attire for the event
  • The Saudi Cup carries a prize fund of $35.4 million, with the $20 million Saudi Cup race itself maintaining its position as the most valuable race in the world

RIYADH: The Saudi Cup, the Kingdom’s annual international horse race, returned this weekend in Riyadh for its fifth edition with a head-turning display of fashion.

From bespoke creations designed exclusively by and for style icons to bold original outfits, guests were dressed in striking attire for the event that takes place Feb. 23 and 24.

Princess Nourah Al-Faisal, special adviser to the chairman of the Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia, spoke to Arab News about fashion at the event — and the vision of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for the event. 

Princess Nourah Al-Faisal wore an intricately embroidered tulle covering over a robe with embroidered detailing on the cuffs. (Photo by Huda Bashatah)

He “really had a vision, and not just for fashion, but he had this idea that he wanted the event to represent our culture and our heritage in every way possible,” she said.

“I have to say I am delighted and super excited by it and especially this reintroduction of our heritage to the younger generation … (and) seeing what this younger generation is doing with that, you know the experimentation,” she added.

Princess Nourah donned an intricately embroidered tulle covering over a robe with embroidered detailing on the cuffs from Art of Heritage.

Influencer and model Rakan Alhamdan also showed off attire inspired by his country.

“Today, I’m wearing Siraj Sanad — he’s a Saudi (designer) in Jeddah. As you can see, it is heritage-style clothing with three embroidered triangles which Najd is known for,” he said, referring to the Saudi region of Najd which is famous for its triangles visible in architecture and embroidery.

Influencer and model Rakan Alhamdan. (Photo by Huda Bashatah)

Other guests showed off a rainbow of colors at the fashion-forward event, with modern takes on Saudi attire spotted across the venue — from gemstone-covered burqas to elegant kaftans complete with heavy embroidery.

The Saudi Cup carries a prize fund of $35.4 million, with the $20 million Saudi Cup race itself maintaining its position as the most valuable race in the world.

- Additional reporting by Hams Saleh


Bella Hadid expands portfolio with launch of new brand Orebella

Bella Hadid expands portfolio with launch of new brand Orebella
Updated 23 February 2024
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Bella Hadid expands portfolio with launch of new brand Orebella

Bella Hadid expands portfolio with launch of new brand Orebella
  • Speculation that model will sell fragrances, incense, body lotions, oils, shampoo, conditioner and candles

DUBAI: Bella Hadid is launching a new brand, Orebella, that is likely a venture into the perfume and beauty market.

The US-Dutch-Palestinian supermodel shared a teaser on Instagram on Thursday.

“Ôrəbella founded by Bella Khair Hadid,” she captioned the post teasing the brand’s launch in May. “Reveal your alchemy on 5/2.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

The 10-second video showcases a close-up of Hadid’s face intertwined with clips of the universe, culminating with the brand’s logo.

Gigi Hadid showed support for her younger sibling, writing: “YAAAAAYYYYY.” This was accompanied by a genie emoji.

While specifics about the brand and its offerings remain under wraps, WWD Magazine reported that Hadid’s trademark filing, dating back to 2022, hints at Orebella’s focus on scent-related products. These may include fragrances, incense, body lotions, oils, shampoo, conditioner and candles.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Orebella (@orebella)

In 2021, Hadid co-founded Brooklyn-based Kin Euphorics with Saudi Arabia-raised Jen Batchelor.

The brand boasts non-alcoholic tonics “made to transform the world’s oldest social ritual, drinking, into a conscious act of better being,” according to its website.

The name Kin Euphorics is a nod to the Greek word “euphoros” — meaning a state of well-being.

The brand claims that many of its key ingredients, such phenylethylamine and rhodiola rosea root extract, improve cognitive function and increase energy levels. Kin drinks will also soon be infused with lavender grown on the Hadid family farm in Pennsylvania.

Hadid has walked for some of the top fashion brands in the world, including Burberry, Off-White, Fendi, Versace, Givenchy, Max Mara and Moschino.

She has had multiple covers in France, Italy, UK, Japan, China and other countries.